Father Joseph Mohr, a newly appointed priest in the town of Oberndorf (near Salzburg), meets the beautiful prostitute Magdalene. He struggles to change her situation and make a new life for her, and while doing so, they fall in love. Mohr struggles with his feelings for her, versus his commitment to God. Meanwhile, the Prior, Mohr's superior, whose corrupt dealings with the Baron von Seidl are threatened by Mohr's integrity and honesty, works (unsuccessfully) to falsely accuse Mohr of sexual misconduct with Magdalene, and thereby remove him from office. Meanwhile, Mohr and local schoolteacher Franz Gruber compose the hymn "Silent Night".